Author Archives: Darcy Cronin

About Darcy Cronin

I'm a Mother/Coach/Blogger/Business Adventurer from Portland OR. My family consists of my Hubby of 12 years, our 8yo Kieran, 5yo Makenna, and 1yo Teagan. I love dreaming about a better future, and making it happen.

40 Earth Days!!!!

I was delighted to watch the new American Experience film, Earth Days. Earth Days shares the revolutionary story of how the environmental movement began, why we should celebrate, and how we can work together to solve today’s global dilemmas. It’s an instant classic that should be shared in classrooms for decades to come! 


In case you missed it on your local PBS station you can watch it online, see you really don’t need cable!  The film is as entertaining and inspiring as it is educational.


As cliche as it may sound, Earth Day does matter. Hundreds or maybe thousands are inspired each year to commit to protecting the Earth. I was inspired to “grow up to be an environmentalist” when I wrote a research paper in junior high on the history of Earth Day. It wasn’t necessarily easy to be a tree-hugger during the spotted owl recession in the Northwest. While disappointing, I appreciate the way the Earth Days film highlighted how the movement did loose ground during the polarizing Reagan years by pitting jobs against the environment and insisting that we need to reduce our standard of living to save energy. Europeans have clearly shown that it doesn’t have to be that way, and are a decade ahead as a result.


Forty Earth Days later being “green” is no longer a fad, but a way of life. Our society is finally making decisions to make “Every Day Earth Day” and moving beyond the basics of recycling. Each day we vote with our wallets, and can make the choice to invest in future generations. If we invest wisely, we’ll have something to celebrate in another 40 years.


At age 13 I also created an art poster with a vow: 


I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth 
To Cherish Every Living Thing
To Care for Earth and Sky and Air
With Peace and Freedom Everywhere 


Today is our day: 4 Years. Go. 


How will your family celebrate Earth Day? 
Here’s online petition to Congress to get the party started!

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Sustainable Family Finances  The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Cable Costs

Want to save your family at least $500 a year? Cut your cable.


I have to admit that not having cable is pretty easy for me, considering I’ve never had it. With my back-to-the-land parents I was 7 when my family bought a used TV (ironically my parents do pay for satellite now!). Hubby grew up in a typical pop culture family, and his college football obsession has tempted him to buy cable before, but we’ve never succumbed.


It looks like more people are opting out of mindless channel surfing: 800,000 Americans cut their cable in the past 2 years! Living cable-free has perks, like with only five real channels we can see if something is on in about two minutes. 


Obviously this trend has more to do with the advent of online TV programming and Netflix.  We’ve been Netflix fans since our BigGuy was born, when we no longer had energy to walk to the video store. We haven’t gotten into watching much online, but I’ve heard from Mama friends that it can be a great way to limit so-called screen time.


Speaking of screen time, this week is the “Screen Free Challenge“. I was pretty blown away to learn that kids average 8 hours a day, that’s way more that ours get in a week! On a typical week they get to 2-3 hours, and while not always easy to resist whining, I’d rather have a fit before watching TV than after. Our BigGuy used to watch a bit more and he had awful meltdowns.


There’s a great essay of Barbara Kingsolver’s about the process of weaning her daughters from TV. Plus, there are so many more fun things to do than watch TV. Read some cost effective TV alternatives.


Does your family pay for cable? Are you ready to go screen free?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Healthy Child Healthy World

I wake up every day feeling blessed by my family, and I couldn’t imagine ever facing the impact of environmental threats in our home. While the video below is indeed a wake up call, I find it to be a vivid reminder of why I’m moved to act and why I care so much.



A Wake-Up Story from Healthy Child Healthy World on Vimeo.


For more information, check out Collete’s story.

For more resources, buy the comprehensive resource: Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home
Do environmental health concerns move you to action?

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Get Growing

“In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Marget Atwood

My kiddos agree. Spring is such a glorious season, and my favorite part is getting out in the garden! I love when it’s finally warm enough to spend the majority of our family time outdoors.  It’s also exciting to teach them as the plants begin to grow with our favorite kids’ garden books.


Growing your own food is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, as the average produce has traveled 1500-2500 food miles to reach your plate. Plus, it really helps you eat what’s in season and growing organic food is a great way to connect with the environment. 


It also a very cost effective way to feed your family healthy food. As you can see from my harvest of tomatoes last year, a few productive plants can provide an abundant harvest. If you can harvest for just a few weeks you’ll easily reap a return on your investment. Although I’ve never actually tried to quantify my “garden investment,” and hope this season to track it better.


Including soil amendment, this past weekend I spent $65 to get my garden started: tomatoes, basil, eggplant, celery, onions, leeks, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, green beans, and dill. I had previously planted broccoli, cauliflower, shallots and garlic. I also have an herb garden with marjoram, oregano, curry, parsley, thyme, sage, peppermint, lemon-balm and lavender. We also have blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and apples. The best advice that I’ve ever gotten is to plant what you love to eat!


You can make your garden even really budget friendly by starting from seed. Although I have to admit that I’m choosing mostly starts this season, since last year I ended up loosing almost all of my seedlings after getting sick. Until my kiddos get a little older and can truly help out with the seed process, I need to stick with the instant gratification of getting beautiful starts in the fresh Earth.


Gardening does have a steep learning curve, but don’t be intimidated. I learn more every year; last year my leeks didn’t produce much and I just realized that I didn’t plant them deep enough. My gardening “bible” is Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening The “companion” workbook is also very helpful, as it provides a handy place to plan your space, log your planting dates, and make garden dreams a reality Maria Rodale’s Organic Gardening Companion.
















Are you planning a veggie garden for your family?
Have you been successful in trimming your grocery bill?

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Taxing Priorities

If you divvied up your household spending into a single dollar, what would your pennies be spent on? 

I’m guessing that the bulk would go toward housing and feeding your family, with transportation and child care requirements taking up another chunk of your “dollar.” Ideally you’d have enough money left to “play” with and that spending would reflect your unique values and interests. Yet, I’d be shocked to find any family I know spending significant portions on a security system or theft insurance.

So, it still stuns me that the majority of federal taxes, our hard earned money, goes toward military spending. In 2009, U.S. taxes spent more on past military debt than education and energy/environment policies combined. Here’s a great graphic that shows where your money was spend, you can check out a full report from the National Priorities Project.

Think about it for a moment, where are our priorities as a nation?  I respect service to your country, but is military indebtedness going to make our children safer?

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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.